With sights set on a gold medal finish, the Longhorn golf team wrapped up the first day of play in the Metro Invitational tied with Scottsdale Christian for first place.
But visions of returning to the Rim Country with the tournament trophy in tow ended on the second day when the Longhorns couldn’t hold on to the lead, falling to fourth overall in the 14-team field.
“The Longhorns made far too many mistakes as a team to hold on,” said coach Bret Morse.
On day one, March 25, playing at the Coyote Lakes Golf Course, the Horns carded a very respectable 327. But during day two at Wickenburg Country Club, Payson finished at 342 for a final tournament tally of 669.
Scottsdale Christian posted a 648 to claim first place over defending 3A state champion Snowflake — a team that tallied a 657 to take second.
With a 663, Desert Christian was third.
Individually for Payson, Jeff Kelley turned in what Morse is calling, “two very solid days shooting 77 and 77.”
The total gross score of 154 earned Kelley a seventh place finish in the 70-player field.
Tyler Apps scored a 76 on opening day and 82 on the second to finish at 158 and in ninth place.
Also for Payson, Cody Bossert tied for 34th at 178 (94-84) and Anthony Smith was 43rd at 187 (88-89).
The opening day tie for first was earned on Tod McCarthy’s 86 and the scores turned in by Smith, Kelley and Apps.
McCarthy’s score, Morse said, “was his best round of the year.”
Coyote Lakes, Morse added, “Played very difficult for some of the better teams, but the Longhorns were able to manage the course better than most teams and post decent scores.”
At Wickenburg, “Jeff’s 77 was strong, Tyler’s 82 was OK and Cody shot a respectable 84,” said Morse.
First place honors in the tournament were garnered by an old foe who the Horns have battled for the past four season’s — Snowflake’s Kyle Jones. The Lobo ace carded a 143 (68-75) to win the gold by two strokes over Gilbert Christian’s Caston Roberts.
Horns host FH; scorch Hidden Cove
Just two days before competing in the Metro Invitational the Horns hosted Fountain Hills at Chaparral Pines.
On the par 35 course, Apps swung his way to stroke play medalist honors with a 38. Smith finished at 42, Bossert had a 45 and Kelley polished off a 46 for a team score of 171.
“This was our highest team score of the year, but on a challenging tract,” said Morse.
Fountain Hills finished a distant second at 205.
Also highlighting the prep golf scene was the Longhorns’ March 6 appearance in a Winslow-hosted three-way tournament at Hidden Cove near Holbrook.
There, the Horns scored a 150, a tally Morse calls, “the lowest team score in six years.”
Individually, Apps posted a 32 by birdying five out of six holes.
Kelley shot a 38, Bossert had a career low 39 and Smith turned in a 41.
McCarthy rounded out the Horn tally with a 45.
Trailing Payson in the team standings were Show Low (171) and Winslow (228).